Not all the inked signatures in Ladies' Album quilts are handwritten.
Many are stamped (perhaps the one above) or inked with a stencil
as in the two below.
Note the breaks in the lines in the letters A and S and m,
indicating a stencil rather than a stamp.
The same way the m is broken here.
Above is a wooden stamp on a larger scale for a grain bag,
a useful item in Europe when grain bags
identified the farmer or the miller's name.
Stencil plates on a small scale were popular in the mid-19th century in the U.S.
The above examples of metal stencils are from the collection of the International Quilt Study Center
The popularity of stencil plates was probably due to
companies that marketed "Name Stencil Outfits " to
people who were looking for a small business. One often finds
ads for name stencil kits in the ads in newspapers and ladies' magazines.
Above is some history from a 19th-century book, saying that the outfit consisted of several tools, and some metal plates with an "alphabet of dies for cutting ornamental designs." The outfits were expensive (see an ad below for someone who bought one for $23 and was willing to sell it for $7.)
"There is a Universal Necessity for Stencil Work. A thousand and one articles are owned by each individual in the land which should be marked plainly with their name. Clothing, hats, bonnets, gloves, boots, umbrellas, books, cards, envelopes, writing paper, blankets, boxes, barrels, merchandise, farm tools, robes, etc., etc., etc., all may be neatly and quickly marked by means of a Stencil Plate. Every day, clothes are being lost and stolen, books and tools loaned and never returned, letters sent to the dead letter office, (etc.etc.etc.)"
Big Pay! Who could resist?
From the photos it's often hard to tell if the signature is a stencil
or a stamp.
Possibly stamps from the same designer....
or a very neat hand.